Maple Leafs Watch

TERRY KOSHAN and LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 2:44 PM ET


 NOLAN AVOIDS SURGERY ON KNEE

 MAPLE LEAFS winger Owen Nolan was a happy guy when he addressed the media yesterday morning, and no wonder.

 On Monday, he learned after an MRI that he did not require surgery on his damaged right knee.

 Nolan confirmed speculation that he was hoping to return by the latter half of the second round against the Philadelphia Flyers.

 "Everything is healing great, and I'm still ahead of schedule," Nolan said after taking part in the morning skate. "I still have soreness, and I get pain when I try to overdo it. It's a matter of getting conditioning back and making sure it keeps healing.

 "The doctors said I can be a little more aggressive and start pushing a little bit."

 Nolan got hurt March 27 in a game against the Ottawa Senators when he checked Bryan Smolinski.

 GM BASKS IN GLOW

 General manager John Ferguson basked in the glow of his first series win last night, taking congratulations from Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd. chairman Larry Tanenbaum and other dignitaries in the jubilant dressing room.

 "I'm tremendously pleased with our club, top to bottom," he said as the fourth of an anticipated 16 pucks was mounted on a plain blue mural above the door. "We're on track."

 He was aware the team had won playoff series without injured stars before, but it caused him consternation nonetheless not having Mats Sundin and Owen Nolan around.

 "I'm not comfortable with that approach," he said with a laugh. "But give our guys credit. All year there was opportunity. People exploited it and succeeded. There's no change with Mats. When he's ready we'll have a spot for him."

 SUCKING UP SITTING

 Drake Berehowsky was one of a handful of Leafs who did not play in the first round despite being healthy.

 "Everybody has accepted their role on this team," Berehowsky said. "It's a tough situation, but we were ready if we got the call."

 MAPLE LEAFS INJURIES

 Mats Sundin

 Leg, day to day

 Owen Nolan

 Knee, out indefinitely


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